Diplomatic tension runs high on Warsaw-Minsk line

The Polish embassy in Minsk has officially confirmed that its deputy head Marek Bucko has been asked to leave Belarus within a month's notice.

The embassy spokesperson told Polish Radio ambassador Tadeusz Pawlak had been requested by the Belarusian foreign ministry to recall Bucko by June 15th .

However, no official note naming the Polish diplomat as persona non grata had been presented by the authorities in Minsk. Bucko's term in the Belarusian capital expires in October. For the past two weeks he has been in Warsaw on holidays and intends to return to Belarus to his wife and child.

Marek Bucko has been in charge of contacts with Belarusian political parties, NGOs and the media. He also had working ties with the Association of Poles in Belarus.

Last week's move by the justice ministry in Minsk invalidating March election results to this Polish ethnic organization's top posts have triggered strong protests and condemnation by Poland.

Deputy foreign minister Andrzej Zalucki announced in Warsaw that a Polish reply to the diplomat's expulsion will be a reciprocal move in regard to the deputy head of the Belarusian embassy in Poland. He disclosed the Polish side has considered visa refusal to all Belarusian officials involved in the campaign targeting the Association of Poles.

At the same time, deputy minister Zalucki underscored the action would not be directed against Belarusian society, but the members of the regime in Minsk.